Projecting the Mets' Initial 30-Man Roster

Lou DiPietro
July 22, 2020 - 3:13 pm

The Mets begin their 2020 season Friday night by hosting the Braves at Citi Field, and earlier that afternoon, they will have to submit their initial 30-man roster, which they can carry for the first two weeks of the season.

Given that the team had a smaller player pool at the outset of camp before adding several bodies when their alternate site in Brooklyn opened, the Mets may have already tipped their hand as to the preliminary construction of their roster, but we’re going to take a crack at what the team that might be on the field Friday night might look like.

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CATCHERS (3): Wilson Ramos, Rene Rivera, Tomas Nido
The Mets added Rivera to the 40-man roster over the weekend, and then announced Monday that Wilson Ramos had left camp for a few days to tend to a personal matter. Ramos returned on Tuesday, but the team wouldn’t necessarily have added Rivera if they felt Ramos was 100 percent for Opening Day. With a 30-man roster the first two weeks, they can carry the extra catcher and then easily option Nido if and when they feel Ramos is fully up to speed.

UTILITY PLAYERS (2): Dom Smith, J.D. Davis
We put these two in their own category because, unlike the Yankees with Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar, it’s very likely these two guys could be starting at three different spots on a daily basis. Both will be on the team but where they play may depend on who else is playing.

TRUE INFIELDERS (6): Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme, Eduardo Nunez (NRI)
The Mets have serious flexibility at second and third, but if Amed Rosario is compromised, Guillorme is the next in line as the up-and-down guy the last couple years. Not ideal, and Nunez is a natural shorstop and is a better hitter and faster runner than fellow NRI Gordon Beckham, who was released Wednesday. Recently-signed Brian Dozier (who is not an Opening Day consideration, per Luis Rojas) is nice depth, but Nuney is the best choice for fifth infielder. A 40-man roster move would need to be made to accommodate him (Rivera filled Noah Syndergaard’s spot), but the team might have open spots if pitchers Jared Hughes and Brad Brach are indeed on the COVID-19 IL, plus, would you blame the Mets if they moved Jed Lowrie to the 45-day IL and simply ate his money?

TRUE OUTFIELDERS (5): Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jake Marisnick, Yoenis Cespedes, Ryan Cordell
Conforto and Nimmo start, Marisnick is the fourth outfielder, and Cespedes is the question mark. How effective will he be? How much do Davis, Smith, or McNeil end up in the outfield? Should the Mets cover themselves just in case? The answers are likely “who knows,” “a lot,” and “yes,” so Cordell gets a spot; we had this originally earmarked for Melky Cabrera, who was released Wednesday to make room for Juan Lagares, and even though it's said Lagares will not be on the team Opening Day, it seems like this will be his spot at some point. Cordell, being a righty bat, gets the nod for now over Jarrett Parker, though.

STARTERS (5): Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha
Walker Lockett going on the IL all but locks Wacha into the last spot in the rotation, although Corey Oswalt could get a look, especially if Stroman's balky calf keeps him from making his first turn through the rotation. With 13 straight games to start the season and only 14 pitchers on this projected roster, though…well, read below.

RELIEVERS (9): Edwin Diaz, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, Paul Sewald, Corey Oswalt, Daniel Zamora, Hunter Strickland (NRI)
Only nine relievers, but we do leave Oswalt on the team as a long man to pick up the slack, especially with Robert Gsellman dealing with triceps tightness. Those top five are a lock, and Sewald likely gets the first spot vacated by Hughes/Brach/Gsellman. Zamora is a lefty on the 40-man, so for now, despite his struggles this weekend, he gets a spot unless the Mets can find someone in free agency, and Strickland looked the best of any of the competitors over the weekend against the Yankees and is a veteran, so he gets the final nod. In our world, the Mets add a 10th reliever ASAP once they can clear a catcher, and for that spot, it’s likely a toss-up between NRI Chasen Shreve or maybe whomever the Mets can add if Gsellman is still out.  And, you can pencil in Tyler Bashlor most likely if it is Oswalt who has to pick up Stroman's slack.

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